Daily tomato juice eases diabetic symptoms
20/08/2004 - Drinking tomato juice everday
reduced the blood’s clotting ability in people with
type 2 diabetes, report Australian researchers this week,
reports Dominique Patton.
They found significant lowering of platelet
aggregation – the blood's ability to clot – after
a daily dose of juice for three weeks, according to the research
letter in this week's JAMA (Aug 18;292(7):805-6).
Diabetic patients are more prone to blood
clots, which contributes to their increased risk of developing
cardiovascular complications, according to the authors. Blood
clots can cause strokes, heart attacks and other life-threatening
In the trial, 20 patients (aged 43-82) with
type 2 diabetes drank either 250 ml of tomato juice or a placebo
– tomato-flavoured drink - everyday for three weeks.
They had no prior history of clotting problems and were not
taking aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or other
medications that might influence clotting.
Platelet aggregation turned out to be significantly
lower at the end of the trial for the group drinking tomato
juice. There was no significant difference in platelet aggregation
in the placebo group.
The researchers from the University of Newcastle
in Australia do not yet understand why tomato juice reduces
platelet aggregation, although other groups have reported
In the UK, nutraceutical firm Provexis is
currently developing a water-soluble, concentrated tomato
extract that can be added to drinks to make them beneficial
for heart health. Trials on the extract, which contains none
of the antioxidant lycopene, also reported to improve heart
health, suggest that its different compounds inhibit blood
platelet aggregation. Nobody at the company was available
to comment on the Australian research.
Diabetes has already increased by one-third
during the 1990s, due to the prevalence of obesity and an
ageing population. There are currently more than 194 million
people with diabetes worldwide but if nothing is done to slow
the epidemic, the number will exceed 333 million by 2025,
according to the International Diabetes Federation.
If the Australian research is corroborated
by larger studies, it may also help other people with increased
clotting tendency such as smokers and long-distance travellers,
as well as those with heart disease, one of the most widely
occurring chronic diseases in the world.